The Beatles guitar solo Paul McCartney wanted to sound like Jimi Hendrix

If you’re a fan of rock music, chances are, most things you like about the modern guitar solo stem from the work of Jimi Hedrix. That distortion-heavy and chaotic sound was made famous by Hendrix as he took to the stage and showed people how to play the guitar in a way they had never seen. It blew the minds of punters and musicians alike, including The Beatles.

Hendrix was never restricted by rules when he played the guitar. He loved to dance around the pentatonic scale, as did many musicians at the time, but how he moved quickly up and down the neck, changing keys and octaves as fast as he could blink, was unlike anything that had happened to music before. Combine that with his want to create new sounds that didn’t even sound like a guitar, and you had the recipe for a legend.

People everywhere were in awe of Hendrix, so many musicians tried to replicate his style. Some people did it better than others, but they have yet to come close to achieving what Hendrix achieved throughout his short time as a mainstream musician.

One of the artists who wanted to try to replicate his sound was Paul McCartney. Though The Beatles had some heavier numbers, they didn’t have anything that came quite as close to what Hendrix could do. As such, when they were working on the song ‘Taxman’, a politically charged tune, McCartney wanted to try and emulate that hard rock sound more, especially in the guitar solo.

“George let me have a go for the solo because I had an idea – it was the early Jimi Hendrix days, and I was trying to persuade George to do something like that, feedback-y and crazy,” said McCartney in an interview in 2005. George Harrison was an excellent guitarist, one of the best, some might argue; however, his style was far removed from Hendrix’s. As such, playing in that way wasn’t something that came naturally. “I was showing him what I wanted, and he said, ‘Well, you do it.’”

Though McCartney wasn’t the band’s resident guitar soloist, the instrumentation in ‘Taxman’ came out pretty good. Granted, it might not have rivalled Hendrix, but it tipped its hat to him. Even Harrison confirmed he liked the solo McCartney wrote, saying he thought he had added a “Little Indian bit” to it.

The Beatles were among the most innovative bands ever to pick up instruments. A lot of what we like in modern music can be traced back to them, but those distortion-heavy and chaotic guitar solos are all Hendrix. It shows how much of an influence a musician can have on the world when one of the most influential bands ever takes notes. Such was Hendrix.

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